In this collection Dawes, one of our foremost poets, mines the town of Sumter, SC. He writes lyric, passionate poems of survival and transcendence. Poems of spirit, “twilight,” and vigor. Here, one is reminded of old blues songs or narrative epics. There is nothing that Dawes can’t do, and once again he’s shown us just how lucky we are to have him writing.
Dungy’s collection of poems is a historical narrative set in 19th century Virginia and Philadelphia. Her poems question the way we have written history and provide new insight into the lives that were lived then. She writes a tight, passionate poem, that forces introspection upon the reader. This is illuminating work. In short, everything we want from a book.
Chris Abani’s utterly fearless poetry and fiction has made devout fans of us. He is political without being preachy, always concerned with emotional impact and technical delivery. The fluidity with which Everett’s paintings move with Abani’s tender, tough, expansive poems is remarkable. This is a collection to savor again and again.
In light of the Wisconsin labor uprising, Mason’s Ludlow is nearly prophetic. A novel in verse about the largest labor uprising in American history and its subsequent crushing by the National Guard, Mason’s novel is a page turner. The verse accentuates the sense of history and character that fills the novel, leaving his characters to be nothing short of remarkable. This is the power of Steinbeck combined with Dante’s tight, harrowing verse. Unforgettable.
Immediately one is reminded of Denis Johnson in these stories. Roberge has an uncanny ability to propel a story on, grabbing the reader by the collar, and then, almost miraculously, a sentence comes in that floors you. These are stories that make you wonder, that make you think and feel. Wonderfully wrought characters, combined with tight, beautiful writing, this is a story collection that is not to be missed.
Matthews was one of America's finest poets for over thirty years. His sense of timing, delivery, wit combined with an impeccable lyricism marked his poems as wondrous things. He never fails to inspire, entertain, enlighten, challenge and make you think. A collection that should be on every shelf.
What is most amazing about Kistulentz’ collection of poems is that no matter how tough or raw he digs into emotion, he always has hope. Too many poets now write self-abased, angry, narcissistic poetry devoid of light. Kistulentz’ work slaps this trend in the face and leaves the reader wanting more. A remarkable book.
A stunning first novel. Meeropol challenges our standard notions of right and wrong, of good and evil and perhaps, our guilt in all. Great art is made by making the waters of morality murky, by making us question ourselves—to paraphrase E.M. Williamson. Here, Meeropol not only makes us question ourselves, but the world around us and our relation to it. Not to be missed.
In his 8th collection of poems, Brewer expands greatly on the themes and wonders of his other work. Here he meditates on loss, betrayal, liberation, recovery and human value. Every single poem bears the weight of intense, careful thought, beautifully rendered. Brewer is a poet who has long been stunning us. This collection ups the ante.
There's nothing Everett can't do. Whether he is writing some of our finest fiction (both long or short), painting or writing poetry, Everett is consistently something to behold. His poems are sparse, tight and forceful. There's much to admire here, there's many reasons in "Swimming" to see why Everett makes so many poets jealous. His best collection yet.
Ken Kesey once compared the clown, the fool, to a warrior. It took courage to laugh in the face of so much wrong, he thought. Here, Trowbridge builds his poems around the fool archetype, showing us how we are all a bit of the warrior, the lover, the tumbling fool. By tackling all the manifestation of the fool, he shows us ourselves. A gorgeous book, tender and insightful.
Abani tackles power and powerlessness here. He wrestles with his mortality and the infinitude of love. There is a wonderful sense of empathy here, an empathy that has made his fiction absolute standout work. Abani is one of the major writers of our time and Dog Woman might just help to secure him immortality.
It is a book like this that reminds us why we read poetry. It is also a reminder of what a great press can do. Shumaker's work makes you shake your head in amazement: here is everything good about poetry, writing and thinking packed into a tight collection of poems. Not to be missed.
Where many poets experiment with language and say nothing, Reese’s collection of poems uses language and definition to expand our sense of self. She writes poems that dredge deep beneath the surface of meaning; wonderful, tightly wrought poems whose subjects and characters are as diverse as our own lives. Accessible and challenging, beautiful and lyric, Reese’s book is a marvel.
A collected and new set of poems from a poet that has long been holding his own in the upper echelons of letters. Fans of Mary Oliver, Brian Turner and Philip Levine will find much to like here. Thoughtful, passionate work from one of our best. A joy to read again and again.